NaPoWriMo Day 12, 2022

Photo by Zdeněk Macháček via Unsplash


Today’s prompt asks us to “write a poem about a very small thing. Whether it’s an atom, a button, a hummingbird’s egg, dollhouse furniture, or the mythical world’s smallest violin, I hope you enjoy your poetic adventures into the microscopic.” (Full NaPoWriMo post available here.)

Like yesterday, I picked an abstract concept and tried to make it concrete. This quote from Jorge Luis Borges served as inspiration: “A book is a set of dead symbols. And then, the right reader comes along and the words—or rather the poetry behind the words—spring into life and we have a resurrection of the word.” A few years back, I wrote another poem during NaPoWriMo 2018 (based on this prompt) that owes its existence to the same quote. The image of the resurrection of the word will keep haunting me as long as I live.


The World’s Smallest Joy


You’ve arrived at an old truth today: read
and you shall be given. Knock
on the door of a book and it will open. 

This tends to happen at inopportune times. 
On the bus. In a dentist’s office.
In a park somewhere in a foreign city.

You read dormant words 
and they awaken inside you, like Lazarus 
raised from the dead. 

Lo and behold, you’re alive, 
kept upright by a book’s spinal column. 

Lo and behold, it’s become dangerous 
to operate the heavy machinery
of your body. 

Forget your next stop. Deal
with your toothache one more day.
Wait in the park until
the familiar moon comes to claim you.

Leave the body alone— it’s only high on words. 

Let it sleep off euphoria, 
which erupts out of nowhere 
and is certain to go the way of all flames. 

If you must extinguish it early, try grief.
Any kind or quantity will do.

Simply pour it over the embers and listen 
for that amphibian hiss.

It’s the world’s smallest joy,
jumping from one smoldering log
to another, its diligent tail
sweeping away any trace of its passage. 

Yours for a moment, then gone. You don’t know
what you did to deserve it,
but its absence surely makes sense.

When—despite your best efforts—joy 
means to stay, back off slowly. 

Try to appear smaller than joy, larger
than fear. 

Try to blend in with the universe, which is made
of endless blades of grass. 

Venomous joy adores the juicy green. 

If it mistakes you for grass, I’m afraid it’s too late.
Relinquish your grief, for once. Let joy
sink its teeth in.

47 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo Day 12, 2022

Add yours

  1. I’m just catching up with the poems in NaPoWriMo now, and, Romana, your poem is gently stunning in so many ways. It describes the essence of actually writing a poem (I love the “amphibian hiss”). The way you create images that weave a kind of abstract tapestry while being concrete and vivid at the same time, is a rare gift. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I found your poem utterly delightful.
    ““Lo and behold, you’re alive,
    kept upright by a book’s spinal column.” – great lines.
    I look forward to giving this poem to my book group.
    Thanks for sharing your words.
    Ali

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Romana Iorga,

    Your writing is dangerous, Romana,

    Turns thoughts into flesh and feeling,

    Concepts – lack of persistence – into the tail of a salamander,

    Reading stanza after stanza, means jumping from one smoldering log to another,

    A blade of grass, strung between the fingertips of your words, is compelled to sing,

    Low and behold, I’m alive, stretched, resurrected by your poem’s spinal cord.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutely amazing!!! Especially:
    “Lo and behold, you’re alive,
    kept upright by a book’s spinal column.

    Lo and behold, it’s become dangerous
    to operate the heavy machinery
    of your body. ”

    What striking metaphors!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stunning poem. So many good lines. My favourites:

    “You read dormant words
    and they awaken inside you, like Lazarus
    raised from the dead.”

    “Simply pour it over the embers and listen
    for that amphibian hiss.”

    And the whole of this ending:

    “Try to appear smaller than joy, larger
    than fear.

    Try to blend in with the universe, which is made
    of endless blades of grass.

    Venomous joy adores the juicy green.

    If it mistakes you for grass, I’m afraid it’s too late.
    Relinquish your grief, for once. Let joy
    sink its teeth in.”

    Fantastic work, well done! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your style too, dear Manja! Thanks so much for your unmatched kindness. And yes, I’m mostly made of books now. There are a few other things that prop me up, but books are essential.💜📚🙏

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Smitha! Sometimes it’s hard to recognize joy for what it is–or difficult to accept it. It has something to do with how we see ourselves. Like joy, we’re work-in-progress!💜🍃

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Day Thirteen

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